Every year on March 8th women are celebrated throughout the world for their economic, political and social achievements.  If you see a woman wearing a purple ribbon today you will know why.

The theme for 2016 is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality”

In the early celebrations of International Women’s Day, thousands of women marched in New York City demanding the right to vote and rights to better working conditions. Today, women reflect on the progress they have made in these areas and discuss ongoing issues faced by women worldwide.

The United States has come a long way since the first march in 1908.  Since then women won the right to vote and today make up about half the workforce.  Have we come a long way baby?

The United States ranks 28 out of 145 countries in an annual world ranking of equality for women.  Although we have made good progress, especially in the last decade, it is clear inequalities still exist and the United States is not as progressive as 27 other countries. I was a little surprised by this fact. One of the areas included in our ranking profile is the gender pay gap.

According the the US Department of Labor report (Q4, 2015), median weekly earnings for women in full time employment were about 80.4% of men’s earnings. The gender pay gap was carried across all educational levels.  While more education has been helpful in increasing women’s earnings, it has not been fully effective against the pay gap.

International Women’s Day is not just about pay gap statistics.  It is a time to understand and reflect on the continuing oppression of women and girls across the globe. Issues such as limited access to education, violence and adequate healthcare top the list of issues that will be addressed in different forums today.

I hope you take a minute today to research and better understand the equality issues that women and girls continue to face today. You might be surprised at what you learn and find some information that resonates with you.

To all women, I wish you peace, love, good health and continued progress toward your goals.

Melissa

 

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